Living wage proposal will hurt the people it is supposed to help

26 Mar 2019 |

The Labor Party’s plan to introduce a living wage will hurt small businesses and the job prospects of workers it is supposed to help, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest network of businesses said today.

“Labor’s living wage plan will push up the cost of wages for many small businesses, without any regard for the capacity of these businesses to pay the increased wages or pass on the increased costs to customers,” Australian Chamber CEO, James Pearson, said.

“With cost of living pressures already putting many small businesses under the pump, this policy would force many businesses to choose between cutting the hours of their employees or laying people off. Even if they could charge customers more, to recover the cost of increased wages, that would simply add to the cost of living that the policy is supposed to address.

“It’s a bit rich for big unions to say that their living wage proposal is good for small business, when small and family business owners around the country, who work long hours, have taken great financial risks, and have put their homes on the line to employ people, know the reality – this policy would see them cutting the hours they give their staff, laying people off, working longer hours themselves to make up the difference and, for some, having to close their doors.

“In forcing the Fair Work Commission to prioritise a living wage over all other factors, the Opposition is sidelining the needs of not only small business owners but those looking for work or trying to enter the workforce for the first time, including students and young people.

“With small businesses employing five million Australians workers, a third of young Australians with a job and 40 percent of apprentices, we need workplace relations policies that help small businesses to stay viable and create jobs, not policies that hurt them. Reform of the tax and transfer system and the creation of sustainable jobs is a more effective way to address poverty and provide support and opportunity for those in need.”

The Australian Chamber speaks for over 300,000 businesses employing millions of Australians in every sector of our economy and in every part of our country

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

Emily Kennelly

Adviser- Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0438 730 8

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